Building a product is not very easy to achieve, as there will be lot of technologies and teams involved. It is always important to build a proper development strategy to achieve the satisfactory product. The product what we mean here is not only the software product, but also applicable for other products like Car manufacturing, other engineering products, event organizing, etc. In this article, we are going to see the steps involved in the planning of product development and also the key areas to be focused. For more information about Scrum Master Certification please visit StarAgile site.
We have to be clear on what we are going to achieve in the next 6 months to 1 year. There may be some requirement change to the product when we are progressing towards new features. Even though we are running on agile or scrum to achieve the result, it is always to have a clear vision of what we are going to do altogether!!
Product Road map and Strategy:
Product road map is the first step prior to the product strategy. The usual way of arriving at a product road map is using excel or power point. There will be lot of manual effort involved in tracking, mapping and updating them on regular intervals. In current digital era, there are lot of tools with cloud enabled solutions. They will give the more organized way to track and update your product road map updates.
Identify the product road map with proper goals and arrive at a product strategy. Identify the top 5-7 goals from your road map that will enable to form a minimum viable product in 2-3 months. These goals can be simple enough and also it should add some temptation to the user to think through “What would be there in the next release?”. Your product strategy should enable you to complete your goals first and then follow up with additional add on features on top of it. You can identify the top goals by talking to all stakeholders with end users or customers, by creating some survey to get details, internal team meetings.
Importance of Regular Review:
Review your product strategy and visualization at the end of every sprint, to ensure you are on right track in achieving your end product.
After you identify the goals, arrive on the release dates for your MVP by finalizing the sprint duration and package into releases. When you are arriving, the below key pointers can be considered into account as part of scrum planning methodology:
- Your goal should be end-user oriented
- Your planning interval should be maximum of 3 months
- Your cadence should be between 3 months
- Your capacity planning will be considering maximum of 10 members per team
- The funding can be planned incrementally based on the outcome feedback from end-users
- You can plan for multi-functional team tasks. However any dependencies between the system needs to be taken care
- Add measurable KPIs to your goals at very granular level
Did you know: The product strategy is known as EPIC in Agile world!!
If there is a need to say NO to your users, you should be able to say it, as overloading too many features in your initial releases will result in failure of the overall implementation
As a product manager, you are responsible for the success of your product and also driving the deliverables across multi-functional teams. Identify the team across all technologies with the team members ranging from 3-10 in a team. If there are more than 10 members, it can be split into two teams. Each team should have a separate product owner to track the processes. Agile developed teams should enable communication between all necessary technologies
Product Development with Scrum:
For any complex development, scrum will help to break it into various small requirements with the help of sprints. Your product back log should have all requirements that are finalized as part of the product visualization and product strategy.
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There can be a one-on-one mapping between your strategy goals against your product back log (Templates similar to Requirement-Traceability-Matrix can be followed). This product back log items have to be reviewed with all stake holders. Once they are agreed upon, the items towards the initial goals to be marked out for initial set of user stories. When you are arriving on user stories, dependencies on inter related technologies or inflow/outflow should be considered, failing which there may be showstopper to proceed and complete the user stories.
Your team should follow all scrum ceremonies at all stages to keep the development in an effective way. As a product manager, it is your responsibility to track it in a efficient way and clear any obstacles the team might face in near future. For example, the environment for UAT needs to be ready in next 2 weeks. You have to start interacting with the environment team and ensure that the environment is at least ready 2 days ahead of time. This will help to avoid seamless deployment to UAT. Always remember that Proper Planning will prevent too many hurdles ahead of time
Retrospection – Most important one!!
Being a part of agile manifesto, we all know that end of each sprint, retrospection is required to happen. When you are handling a product development in agile mode, it is imperative to have a feedback session with your end-user after each release, revisit your product road map and strategy based on your priorities, any priority change required in your next sprint.